Weekend news round-up: Cook rallies Apple’s troops, The Vine becomes the web’s hottest property

28 Jan 2013

Apple CEO Tim Cook

In our round-up of what’s been happening over the weekend in tech, Apple CEO Tim Cook has rallied the Apple troops and has said that despite the pummeling by Wall Street and analysts the company will always have critics no matter how successful it is. Twitter’s Vine app is spreading its tentacles, unfortunately the peddlers of porn have taken note.

Apple CEO Cook rallies the troops

Authority on all things Apple Martin Gurman reported in 9to5Mac at the weekend about an interesting town hall meeting Apple CEO Tim Cook held with Apple employees following the company’s recent US$54bn quarter that showed solid results that somehow failed to sway investors and analysts.

Cook rallied his staff by discussing Apple’s latest earnings, its competition, and its future.

“Speaking to employees on the current controversies around Apple’s income and future, Cook reportedly told his workers and colleagues that ‘we [Apple] just had the best quarter of any technology company ever.’ Cook expressed this with immense satisfaction and appreciation for his teams that made this happen.

Cook further added, likely referring to gas and fuel juggernaut Exxon, that ‘the only companies that report better quarters pump oil.’ “I do not know about you all, but I do not want to work for those companies,” Cook reportedly said. This portion of Cook’s talk reunited employees in disbelief over Apple’s stock price decline and restated how great of a company Apple is to work for.

Cook also reportedly made it clear that share price is not Apple’s focus. Making new products that customers love is the priority. Revenue and share price is just a byproduct of Apple’s efforts. Cook said he believes Apple employees agree with that sentiment. He also said Apple is commonly misunderstood and the company will always have critics, no matter how successful it is by Apple’s standards.

There. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Wall Street.

Apple’s porn problem

Wall Street isn’t Apple’s only problem of late. Apple, which has until now maintained a puritanical stance about the thorny subject of porn and refusing to allow porn-related apps onto its App Store, has a new problem – the flare-up surrounding Twitter’s new Vine app becoming inundated with porn.

Yep, no sooner has Vine become the hottest app on the internet than the peddlers of smut have taken over and an unsavoury class of six-second loop videos have caused a storm of controversy.

According to The Verge, the revelation will make Apple uncomfortable considering its increasingly closer and closer relationship with Twitter.

“A cursory search of #porn and related hashtags within the Twitter iOS app unearths a cornucopia of adult material, yet Apple has taken no action in the case of that app. The existence of pornography on Twitter and in similar apps is also not a recent occurrence – Twitter, in particular, has long been used for such sharing. Yet Apple has made much out of its tight partnership with Twitter, adding native Twitter functionality into iOS as part of a recent update to the software.

“The situation draws even more attention to the vague and sometimes confusing rules of Apple’s App Store guidelines, and more clearly showcases the sporadic and often unusual criteria the iPhone-maker uses to decide the fates of applications. As marketshare of Apple’s iPads and iPhones has grown, the company has come under increasing fire over interpretations of its own rules in regards to offensive or objectionable content,” The Verge noted.

Either way, the Vine grows

Despite the conflagration over porn meandering its way into Twitter’s newest video app Vine – believed to be the replacement of the GIF – Vine is spreading and has already led to developers spawning a new app, Vinepeek, which Buzzfeed has proclaimed “the most addictive new site on the internet.”

Vinepeek was not created by Vine or Twitter, so the site could easily get shut down. But for now it’s up in all its simple glory. It presents, in a nearly unbroken stream, Vine videos as they’re posted. Endless short clips, a maximum of six seconds long, shot by Vine users all over the world.”

Most of the videos are unremarkable on their own, and you can spot some soon-to-be-groanworthy Instagram-style trends right off the bat. There are lots of stop-motion eating and drinking videos, for example, and plenty of people are clearly still trying to figure out what, if anything, they need to share via video.

“But you don’t have to wait long to find truly beautiful things.”

Samsung plans a music store for all devices

Not content with pretty much owning the Android space, technology giant Samsung plans to launch its cloud music service MusicHub across a number of platforms, The Next Web reported.

“What’s interesting here is that this would move Music Hub on from being just a nice value-add for Samsung customers and pitch it as a direct competitor to Amazon, Google and other companies offering cross-platform music services that provide combinations of downloads, streaming and cloud lockers. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that consumers will go for it. By way of comparison, Sony offers the Music Unlimited streaming service on its own hardware and on desktop computers, Apple iOS and non-Sony Android devices, and yet you don’t tend to hear that mentioned in the same breath as Spotify and Rdio.”

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years